Rangers fans gather in their thousands at Ibrox on trophy lift day

Rangers fans gather in their thousands at Ibrox on trophy lift day

Rangers fans ignore pleas from Scottish Government to respect lockdown rules amid Indian variant fears as thousands gather at Ibrox to celebrate Steven Gerrard’s side lifting the league trophy

  • Rangers fans gathered on the day they lift the Scottish Premier League trophy
  • Steven Gerrard’s side will receive the trophy after Saturday’s tie with Aberdeen
  • The team were given a heroes’ welcome when they stepped off the team bus 
  • The club and Scottish Government asked fans to respect Covid lockdown rules
  • Nicola Sturgeon moved Glasgow into level 2 restrictions due to a spike in cases

Rangers supporters gave their team a heroes’ welcome to Ibrox on Saturday, as fans appeared in their thousands on the day Steven Gerrard’s side lift the Scottish Premier League trophy. 

The Gers will receive their 55th Scottish top-flight title after their match with Aberdeen on Saturday lunchtime, which is the final game of the Premier League season. 

Both Rangers Football Club and the Scottish Government asked fans to adhere to social distancing rules on Saturday but fans ignored those pleas when the home side’s team bus arrived at Ibrox. 

The celebrations come a day after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Glasgow would be remaining in the highest restrictions bracket along with Moray due to concerns from the Indian coronavirus variant.

Positive cases in the Glasgow area rose up to 3.5 per cent on Friday, with research suggesting the Indian strain of the virus is contributing to these spike in cases. The rest of Scotland will be moving to level 2 from May 17. 

UK Government scientists revealed on Friday that the variant could ‘realistically’ be 50 per cent more infectious than the Kent strain – which models project could lead to 1,000 deaths a day, as well as 10,000 daily hospitalisations by the summer.

Rangers fans gathered in their thousands to celebrate their side receiving the Scottish Premier League trophy on Saturday

The Gers fans gave their team a heroes’ welcome when they arrived on the team bus

The move comes a day after Nicola Sturgeon announced Glasgow would remain in Scotland’s highest restrictions bracket due to concerns over the Indian coronavirus variant 

Latest figures published on Friday showed there were 80.4 cases per 100,000 people in Glasgow in the seven days to May 11, pushing it ahead of Moray where there were 68.9.

Beforethe Scottish First Minister’s announcement on Glasgow’s restriction rules, Rangers themselves published a statement on Thursday, calling for fans to respect the rules put in place. 

It read: ‘It’s a day to enjoy and to celebrate the achievements of our club, and the title win by Steven Gerrard and his team. However, we are cognisant that the battle against Covid-19 is far from over and that the virus is still live. It hasn’t gone away. 

‘Please celebrate this historic day for our club in a safe and sensible manner, respecting public safety – adhering to the current government guidelines and restrictions which are still in place.

Rangers released a statement on Friday calling for fans to respect the lockdown rules in place

Fans let of flares before Rangers’ clash with Aberdeen on the final day of the league season

The fans ignored calls from the club and the Scottish Government to stay away from Ibrox

‘In particular, please be mindful of the government guidelines regarding gathering in large numbers. If possible, please celebrate within your own community.’ 

Scottish Justice Secretary Hamza Yousuf tweeted on Friday: ‘Understand what an important season it has been for Rangers FC but I am urging fans not to gather during the trophy presentation on Saturday.

‘I have had constructive engagement with RFC, Police Scotland & GlasgowCC – we’re all urging fans not to gather, virus has not gone away.’

Rangers supporters, who are still not allowed inside stadiums due to coronavirus rules, let off flares and sang club chants when the side arrived in the stadium, with stewards in place to keep fans away from the team when they stepped off the bus. 

Manager Gerrard was greeted by supporters after leading Rangers to their first league title since 2011 after perennial success by fierce Glasgow rivals Celtic over the past decade.

Earlier this week, the Rangers boss spoke about the bond between the players and the fans.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard was cheered by supporters when he arrived at Ibrox

Intense police presence was at Ibrox after Glasgow remained in the highest lockdown group

Gerrard told a press conference: ‘The players have seen it with their own eyes, the support that the team have been given. 

‘I think there’s been a real understanding from the players and we’ve made it abundantly clear what the fans have had to do to support from afar this year. 

‘The players are family men, a lot of them – they understand what the fans have gone through. The players want to share (Saturday) with the supporters, even though they can’t be in the stadium, they want to raise that cup for them because they are the most important people here.’ 

In winning the Scottish Premier League title, Rangers managed to stop arch-rivals Celtic from winning ten top-flight titles in a row, as well extending their all-time league record to 55, over the Bhoys’ total of 51. 

The Scottish Premier League title win is Rangers’ 55th top-flight title and their first in ten years

Fans sang club chants and used drums to add to the party atmosphere on Saturday morning

Rangers can amass 102 points if they beat Aberdeen on Saturday lunchtime at 12.30pm

On Friday night, Rangers fans lit up red flares on the banks of the River Clyde at around 9pm

The title was won by Gerrard’s men on March 7 after Celtic drew 0-0 against Dundee United, with Rangers building up a 20-point lead with six games remaining. 

The Gers amassed 99 points before Saturday’s clash with Aberdeen and boasted a 23-point lead over Celtic at the Scottish Premier League summit. Gerrard’s side are yet to lose a league match this season, the first time it has been done since Celtic managed it in 2017. 

Avoiding defeat against Aberdeen would see Rangers break the 100-point barrier for the first time in the club in their history and only the second time ever, after Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic in their unbeaten campaign. 

Rangers are also looking to complete a 100 per cent winning record in league home games, the first time it has been done since Martin O’Neill managed it with Celtic in the early 2000s.  

The title celebrations among Rangers supporters continued on Friday night when thousands of fans from the Union Bears supporters group lit up the banks of Glasgow’s River Clyde with red flares. 

Police Scotland confirmed that officers were called to the river at around 10.15pm on Friday night but no arrests were made and the group was dispersed shortly afterwards.  

SAGE says it’s a ‘realistic possibility’ Indian variant could lead to 1,000 Covid deaths by summer 

There is a ‘realistic possibility’ the Indian Covid variant is far more transmissible than the Kent strain and could lead to up to a thousand deaths a day by summer, the Government’s scientists warned last night.

The SPI-M subgroup said it was confident the mutant B.1.617.2 strain was more infectious than the currently dominant variant, and that it could spread up to 50 per cent more easily.

It warned that pressing on with easing all lockdown restrictions on June 21, as is currently the plan for England, could lead to more than 10,000 more people being hospitalised with the disease daily by Autumn. 

The bleak forecasts were presented to No10 this week after cases of the strain more than doubled in seven days and four people were found to have died from the variant.  

Scientists advising SAGE this month estimated what a more transmissible strain could do to the country after lockdown is lifted in June and claimed it could trigger up to 20,000 hospital admissions per day in a worst-case scenario. January’s peak, which nearly crippled the NHS, was around 3,800 a day in England.

A Warwick University modelling team cautioned that if it was 40 per cent more transmissible the next surge could be worse than the second wave, with up to 6,000 daily admissions, and a 50 per cent increase could lead to 10,000 per day. Less grisly numbers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine suggested a 50 per cent rise could lead to 4,000 per day.

But there are still glimmers of hope, with experts saying it remains unclear whether the current variant spreads significantly quicker or whether it is a coincidence it sprung up in places that already had high transmission or simply emerged in clusters linked to people flying into the country from abroad. 

Vaccines are still likely to work against the strain, research suggests, and there are no signs it is more deadly. But faster transmission means more people getting infected and more opportunities for ‘vaccine failure’ – when people get sick even after having a jab, which may happen to between five and 15 per cent of people.  

The variant still only makes up a minority of cases nationwide – around 10 per cent – but it is growing quickly and particularly in hotspots such as Bolton, Blackburn, Bedford and Sefton in Merseyside, where it is confirmed to account for more than half of all positive tests.

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